Face the Nation transcripts April 7, 2013: Schumer, McCain, Albright

BOB SCHIEFFER: Is China the key here?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I do believe so. Though, we can't just kind of only have the Chinese do this. But as Senator McCain said, I think they really do hold in many ways, the key because they provide their econom-- their economic background with their oil.

BOB SCHIEFFER: The two things that China does not want, of course, is if something happened to the North Korean government and all these refugees would be spilling into China. But, also, the Chinese do not want the entire peninsula under the control of-- of the South Korean government. I mean-- and so it would seem me to be it would be very much in their interest to keep at least the status quo, and not allow this to go beyond, as you say, because the great danger here, it seems to me, is that accidentally, a war could be triggered. And if-- do you have any doubt that if North Korea should somehow fire on South Korea, that the South Koreans would not retaliate this time?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I think they would have to because there was a lot of criticism of them in terms of what happened when their ship and the island. But the question is what they would do and I do think we have to be really careful not to have this escalate, which is why the diplomatic aspects of it are so important. But I also think that what we have-- you were talking about the Chinese. They can't want to have a nuclear power on their southern border. They certainly don't want the refugees. I think this may sound difficult to do but necessary is to persuade them that the North Koreans are not the buffer for them that they think it is; that the South Koreans and us--because we are in an alliance--have no hostile intent there and that they don't need to be afraid of a denuclearized Korean peninsula. But that is part of the project that we have to make sure that they don't see that their only saving grace is to have this North Korean very peculiar situation go on.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What was it like-- you dealt with this young leader's father when you were there? What-- what was it like? I mean we just hear that these people are very, very isolated.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I think they are isolated but not uninformed. What I found when I got there--and had I talked to Kim Dae-jung, who was the president of South Korea at the time about what it was like to deal with Kim Jong-il. And he said he's not crazy and he wasn't. We had about twelve hours of talks. They were very substantive in terms of agreements about missile moratoriums and missile limits and he actually had said that he would not be opposed to American forces being in South Korea. We were talking about various negotiations. And it was a sane discussion. The problem was that they are in some kind of delusional denial in terms of how the rest of the people in North Korea are living. So while we were having fancy dinners, I knew that the North Korean people were eating bark off the trees. And so it was passing strange, the whole thing, frankly. But I do think that we were talking. The problem is that they also have a tendency to lie to us about whether they had a-- an enriched uranium program or what they were doing. But I think that I believe that talking to them is important, and if they were to return to the agreements that they made in 2005, we should be willing to talk to them. Talking is actually a form of trying to solve problems.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Madeleine Albright, we thank you so much for your insight this morning.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: Thank you, Bob. Great to be with you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I'll be back in a minute with some personal thoughts about all this.


BOB SCHIEFFER: You know things have taken a dangerous turn when Fidel Castro joins the United States in calling on North Korea to tone down its rhetoric about the threat of nuclear war. But that is what Castro did. At such times you have to wonder if there isn't someone within the North Korean government who is trusted enough to warn the impetuous young leader Kim Jung-un that he may be on the wrong path. Well, a story making the rounds in intelligence circles helps us understand why, if there is such a person, he or she might be reluctant to offer Kim advice on anything. According to this report, there were seven military generals who served as honorary pallbearers at the funeral of Kim's father. Four have disappeared without explanation, vanished. No one knows where they are. The fifth, apparently offended Kim in some way and was marched before a group of contemporary, strapped into a suicide vest, packed with explosives, and simply blown up before their eyes. That kind of thing is the part that worries U.S. officials. And, apparently, Fidel Castro, as well. Back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now. But for most of you, we'll be right back with more on North Korea, and the prospects for gun control and immigration reform.

Plus, you'll hear from New York Times correspondent Mark Mazzetti about his new book about the CIA and drones. Stay with us.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Joining us now on Page Two, Gerald Seib, the Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal; Blaine Harden, whose latest book Escape From Camp 14, is about a North Korean man who escaped one of the highest security prisons in that country. It's just out in paperback. Plus, we're joined by our congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes and our White House correspondent Major Garrett. Blaine, I want to start with you because I want to get back to this North Korean thing. You have done extensive research on North Korea for the book that you wrote. You're an old Washington Post hand. And-- and I think you're working on another--